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Mich. City Shuts The 'Tree Of Life'

It was a symbol of philanthropy to some, used to hang donations of clothing and toys for the needy, but the city has put an end to the "tree of life."

Residents Anthony and Connie Johnson started displaying items on the tree near their home last summer, often purchasing the items themselves. Passers-by were invited to stop and choose the items they needed.

But inspectors said the tree violates city blight laws, and shut the operation down. They said residents can only hang clothes on backyard clothes lines, and can't drop off items in a "home occupation zone."

The Johnsons also violated the blight ordinance by using a city tree in a city right of way, officials said.

Blight inspector Toby Worrell said several neighbors complained about the increase in vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the residential area.

The Johnsons, who would reload the tree with items left on their front porch sometimes twice a day, said they were shocked when they received the blight notice.

"I see it as an act of the devil trying to block God's work," Anthony Johnson told The Monroe Evening News for a Tuesday story. "We will not be hindered by it."

The couple continues to collect donations and is passing them on to a local churches.


Information from: The Monroe Evening News,

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